What is a plantar wart?
A plantar wart is a wart caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which occurs on the sole or toes of the foot. A plantar wart may be painful when walking or standing, and when pressure is applied to the sides of the wart. Plantar warts can spread easily and may present as a cluster of warts.
The hallmark signs of a plantar wart are tiny blood vessels at the base of the wart (which tend to look like small black dots in the centre of the wart), and a lack of normal skin lines (as in a fingerprint). Diagnosis of a plantar wart is usually confirmed by shaving down the thickened skin and looking for these signs.
Plantar warts are contracted by a virus entering the skin through small cuts/abrasions on the bottom of the foot. This virus is commonly picked up from moist environments such as public showers and swimming centres where the virus may be present. Plantar warts are contagious and can also be caught by touching an infected site on another person.
How is a plantar wart treated?
Following assessment, your podiatrist may pare back the wart and apply solution in order to break down the warty tissues. Several treatments are usually required in order to eliminate the wart, particularly if there is more than one wart. Your podiatrist may also prescribe wart patches or other treatments for use between consultations. Often a combination of treatment options works best to address warts.
How can I prevent plantar warts?
To reduce your risk of developing a plantar wart, it is recommended that you:
- Avoid going barefoot, particularly in moist and communal environments
- Change your socks and shoes daily
- Keep your feet clean and dry – if your feet are prone to sweating your podiatrist can recommend different types of socks to help keep your feet dry.
- Avoid directly contacting warts (either from another person or from another part of your body)